Meesh the Bad Demon by Michelle Lam
Mount Magma is the home of the demons. It is a land of lava and industrialism. Demons work during the night to purify their lava because lava brings life to Mount Magma. The work is hard and the fate of nearly every demon. As the sun rises, Chow, one of the oldest workers, gathers her things, says goodbye to her colleagues, and heads home to Meesh, her granddaughter.
Meesh is delighted her grandma has made it just in time for the start of her favorite show, Princess Nouna. It’s the final episode and it’s going to be EPIC! Princess Nouna is a crime-fighting fairy from Plumeria City, and one day Meesh is going to visit and learn everything about fairies. Chow would like to watch The Lost Story of Mount Magma, but understands her granddaughter may not be interested in history until she’s older. Meesh is mesmerized as Nouna uses her ruby to destroy evil and heal all. The finale was AMAZING but now it’s time for bed.
The next night Meesh wakes up early, skips breakfast and heads to Mount Magma Middle School. Making sure the other school-demons don’t see her, Meesh crawls through some sharp thorny vines to Olivia, a white flower she’s been looking after. Unfortunately Meesh was not as sneaky as she thought and was spotted by Xavier and his friends. Xavier pushes Meesh out of the way and pulls Olivia from the ground telling Meesh she knows skipping class for a flower isn’t allowed. Meesh is devastated and walks away from Olivia’s ripped up pieces, crying on her way to class.
Meesh is late for her How to Breathe Fire class and is called out because it was for a flower and put on the spot to demonstrate her abilities she should have been practicing. In a less-than-fearsome display, Meesh’s fire breath is more of burp which makes her classmates laugh long and loud. Xavier has been practicing and his fire breath is most impressive. The school bell rings and in her next class, again Meesh’s display of demonic powers isn't great. Her acid-puking is non-existent, she gets stuck in a tree in horn-sharpening, her night vision is too bright, and she gets burned during lava-molding. All in all, it's not a successful day.
Later, back at home, Chow finds Meesh sulking on her bed. Chow tells Meesh there are times she doesn’t feel like she fits in either, which is astounding to Meesh because her grandma is the coolest. Chow explains when she first started to work at the lava treatment plant, she was the oldest and the oldest female, and it took a while before the other workers believed she was capable and accepted her. Chow knows she still doesn’t fit in but she’s okay with that. Meesh never knew her Grandma felt that way. Chow tells Meesh being unique is not a bad thing and she likes it, and one day Meesh may feel the same way. Letting Meesh sulk for a bit longer, Meesh lies back and wishes she could be just like Princess Nouna.
The next night Chow waves Meesh off to school. The walk is somewhat eventful, some demon boys puke acid at each other, two classmates get their horns tangled which Meesh tries to help with, a one-eyed cat Meesh tries to pet hisses at her instead, and a plate of eyeballs and entrails grosses her out. All of this means Meesh is late for school. Again. Xavier is waiting at the entrance for her because the teacher sent him to look for her. Xavier tells Meesh she is going to fail while everyone else is working hard and then he spots a fairy figurine poking out of her backpack. Xavier pulls it out and the two get into a fight. Xavier calls Meesh a disgrace to demons while Meesh shouts she is not a demon. They push and shove at each other, fighting for the fairy figurine, until they reach the hill side and Meesh goes over the edge. Realizing what has happened, Xavier runs back to the school for help.
After rolling, skidding and bouncing down the hillside, Meesh lands next to a lava stream and some three-eyed frogs on a lilypad. As she dusts herself off, she finds her fairy figurine and it’s intact, phew! As Meesh is getting ready to leave, she hears a small demon-boy cry out to his mom about some glowing goo he’s found. The demon-boy picks it up and his mom snatches it from his hand but it’s too late and they start turning to stone. Understandably, Meesh is freaked out and runs for help.
Meesh reaches a group of older teen-demons and shouts at them not to touch the green stuff because it’ll turn them into stone but they aren’t scared of a little dirt. What looks like a landslide with the green goo rushes toward them and turns them to stone. Meesh runs to the lava treatment plant and sees the landslide is taking over Mount Magma. Demons are turning to stone everywhere and it’s not much better in the plant. Workers everywhere have been affected. Chow is on the ground being consumed by the stone and shouts to Meesh that the lava is poisoned and that she needs to find help so she needs to be brave like Princess Nouna would. On the ground next to her Grandma, Meesh spots a necklace with a fang-shaped green gem, and picking it up, she tells her Grandma she loves her. Meesh leaves Mount Magma intending to get help from Princess Nouna and her magic ruby.
The woods outside the limits of Mount Magma are scary, filled with strange noises and crying trees. Hang on, the trees are crying? Meesh stops to talk to the trees and one pats her on the head causing her horns to get stuck which actually delights the trees and makes them laugh. As Meesh and the trees laugh, the necklace in her backpack seems to move and glow, which is weird, so Meesh places it around her neck. Now it’s time to find Plumeria City and, with a tree giving her a lift up, Meesh is able to get the lay of the land and spots the right direction she needs to go… up into the clouds!
Thankfully, the clouds are bouncy and Meesh is able to jump from one to another to the massive golden city gates. Unfortunately there is a bald fairy with a clipboard and dismissive attitude stopping her entry. There is a special event today and not just anyone is allowed in Plumeria City. Frowning, Meesh walks away along the golden fence of the city lined with rose bushes. Stopping to sniff the roses, Meesh sneezes flames which help melt part of the fence enough for her to squeeze through. Take that bald fairy! Strangely, Meesh’s necklace starts glowing again. Meesh makes her way through a farmers' market, appropriating items to disguise herself as a fairy, including some leaves to act as wings and a hat to hide her horns. The whole city is bright and colorful with fairies flying about everywhere and Meesh loves it.
Meesh makes her way to Princess Nouna’s palace. Once again there is a fairy with a clipboard stopping people from getting inside, however Meesh’s super cute disguise gets her mistaken for a forest fairy and she’s waved through. Inside, the palace is huge and gorgeous, filled with flowers, fountains and trees, and between the sweeping double staircase is a buffet table laden with goodies and a ginormous multi-tier cake. As Meesh and the fairy girls ogle their surroundings, a voice calls out “Welcome, my little pixies! Thank you for your years of supporting me and my show! And for making it to my birthday party!” IT’S PRINCESS NOUNA!!
The party starts with musical pillows. As Princess Nouna announces the last one standing is a rotten demon, Meesh is taken aback a little, but then she spots the magic ruby on Princess Nouna’s necklace. Meesh is pushed into playing the game, constantly worried she will lose her cute little hat that is hiding her demon horns. It does happen though when she and Princess Nouna bash into each other trying to get to the same pillow. The fairy girls recoil as they spot Meesh’s horns and at the same time, the real forest fairy is brought into the party. The jig is up.
Suddenly Princess Nouna’s mom appears and she looks angry. Meesh dashes off saying she can explain as the fairy girls fly away from Meesh screaming for her not to come near them. Princess Nouna is trying to tell her mom she can deal with the demon herself, but her mom clearly thinks Nouna is incapable. As the Queen readies a spell, Nouna pounces on Meesh knocking her to the ground, crying out that demons always ruin everything. Meesh thinks of her Grandma and knows that is not true because demons aren’t bad. Clasping her necklace, Meesh says “we’re good.” The necklace starts glowing and rises of its own accord. Suddenly Meesh’s horns grow, then the rest of her body, her eyes turn red, and in what is probably a scary voice, tells everyone to “stay back!”
Completely ignoring Meesh’s warning, a guard fairy draws their sword and comes forward so Meesh pukes acid. The Queen says she has been left with no choice and creates a magic ball which turns into a portal at the same time Nouna flies toward Meesh. Together they fall through the vortex.
Nouna keeps fighting with Meesh as they fall through the vortex and land in a river in what looks like a jungle, and Meesh is no longer in scary demon form. Nouna reaches for her magic ruby but it’s disappeared. Meesh, being genuinely nice, tells Nouna it couldn't have gone far and starts to look for it. Nouna, who seems genuinely not nice, blames Meesh for losing the ruby and for her mom being angry and for never being allowed to do anything by herself ever again. Meesh’s suggestion that Nouna fly for a better view point to look is met with more anger because fairy Princess Nouna can’t fly without her ruby because she was born with a torn wing. Well, even though everything on Nouna’s show is proving to be a lie, Meesh still loves it. This does not placate Nouna, but that doesn’t matter to Meesh. She is going to find that ruby!
Back in Plumeria City, the Queen gives a speech about her daughter's kidnapping. Nouna’s whereabouts are unknown so she will leave to find her. Meanwhile, Meesh and Nouna have found a dark and scary cave, and it’s squishy? Well, demons can shine light with their eyes so Meesh heads further in and as she does so, pulling Nouna along, her necklace begins to glow again which is good because the light helps them spot a giant uvula. you’ve-you-la. THEY’RE IN A MOUTH!
A rumble starts, the uvula begins to wiggle and the ground starts to move because it's not the ground, it’s a tongue. Meesh grabs Nouna’s hand and pulls her toward the uvula and they hold on. Throughout Nouna is being horrible, blaming Meesh and demons for their predicament which is the most upsetting thing to Meesh who never believed her hero could be so mean. Meesh cries herself sick and pukes acid all over the giant tongue below which causes the creature to POOT them out (the orifice in the picture is very suspect). Luckily Meesh’s necklace causes her to transform again and, holding Nouna, Meesh flies. The creature behind rears up, and it looks like a derpy pufferfish. Unfortunately, Meesh has never flown before and doesn’t normally have wings so they crash. Electricity charges between Meesh’s horns which she directs toward the derpy pufferfish. The zap makes it shrink and it swims off to live its best derpy pufferfish life.
What the heck just happened?! It seems that every time Meesh’s necklace glows it gives her the power or ability she needs. Well, regardless of how, Nouna is grateful and thanks Meesh. Finally Nouna listens to Meesh and she’s able to explain what happened at Mount Magma, how she got the necklace, and why she came to Plumeria City. Well, Meesh saved Nouna so maybe Nouna can help save Meesh, so they just need to find her ruby. Great, they have a plan… of sorts.
Meanwhile, in Plumeria City, the palace guards are clearing up the mess from the party. One guard however seems up to mischief. He ducks out to a secluded place and makes a phone call to a mysterious woman in a large hat, veil and sunglasses. He reports that a demon broke into the palace and was sucked into a vortex with Princess Nouna. The mysterious woman is not impressed, but what is done is done, so long as the Guardian keeps out of it. Nervously, the sneaky guard tells the mysterious woman about Meesh transforming. Well, of course this would happen, but for now, the mysterious woman instructs the sneaky guard to let the Queen take care of the demon.
Back in the jungle, Nouna asks Meesh to teach her to fly once Meesh gets the hang of it, and Nouna is forced to confess that all of her show is fake. It doesn’t matter because Meesh still loves it. As they talk, a city comes into view but it is in a valley and still some distance away. Magic demon necklace to the rescue! Meesh transforms and, carrying Nouna, ungracefully flies them to the city where they land in a busy park full of different magical creatures and cryptids. They wander around, Nouna being recognized on the way, until they happen across a wonderful looking food hut area. It smells amazing and the desserts look particularly droolworthy. The cute seller in a baseball cap and fluffy dog ears introduces herself as Chai and invites them to sit anywhere.
Meesh notices someone in a hoodie drinking a Bub-lava, the famous Mount Magma drink, so Chai offers to make one for her, and Nouna will take a cupcake. Nouna tries the Bub-lava and really likes it. Chai overhears them talking and asks if Meesh is a demon from Mount Magma because her other customer is too. Chai ran into him in the forest and he’s been really quiet. Meesh approaches the demon in the hoodie and discovers it’s Xavier! They are shocked to see each other. Xavier doesn’t know what happened at Mount Magma and as both Meesh and Xavier become sad again, Chai offers to help. She has food and shelter and is happy to share.
In a camp in the forest at night, Meesh explains what happened at Mount Magma and her adventure so far. Nobody is talking about what happened at Mount Magma - is it that they don’t know, or don’t care? Chai tells Meesh she came to the right place and that they’ll figure it out. Chai tells them that her family were forced out of their home, and perhaps it’s linked to what happened at Mount Magma. Nouna tells them she needs to find her ruby because it has magical powers that may help. Chai has never seen a fairy ruby but does have an idea where they can get one. With a loud AWOOOO! Chai calls a pack of wolves and transforms herself, she’s part wolf!
Meesh, Nouna and Xavier hop on the backs of the wolves and at great speed, they run through the forest to the top of the hill. As they go, Meesh’s necklace glows and she transforms, wings spread. Nouna encourages Meesh as she wobbles a bit. Meesh swoops down, grabs Nouna and helps her try and fly herself. It’s not easy and she’s wobbly, but Nouna starts to fly. The race to the top of the hill is on!
The view from the top is beautiful. Chai tells them they are in Ponderosa now, where all types of creatures live together. Plumeria City can sometimes be seen from up here but it’s too foggy to see Mount Magma. As Meesh looks at the vista, she spots a familiar building from an episode of Princess Nouna. It’s all jagged and looks like rocky outcroppings merged to form a building. Chai says it’s the city’s museum, filled with old stuff and artifacts, an artifact like a fairy ruby! Stealing might be bad, but they need to get it back.
With everyone on board for some grand larceny they make a plan. Chai encourages the gang to get a good night's sleep if they are going to bring their A-game which everyone agrees to. The following morning they head to the museum. It is filled with interesting exhibits and it’s difficult not to get distracted. There are few rubies in paintings and on secured pedestals but none are Nouna’s ruby. Suddenly Nouna spots a room filled with rocks, crystals and geodes. Projected onto the crystal display are fairies who look scared and demons, but it’s difficult to see what the demons are doing. Nouna spots what she thinks is her ruby surrounded by security guards (which are humanoid bodies with cameras for heads).
It’s time for Chai and Xavier to do their thing. Chai turns into her wolf form and distracts one guard, Xavier will wait for Meesh and Nouna to get closer to the ruby before he will blow smoke to cover them breaking the glass and grabbing the ruby. Let’s do this! Meesh and Nouna approach and Nouna inspects the glass as Meesh overhears a couple of patrons talking about what the fairies did to the demons: they stole the lava source from the demons to create a ruby and used it to threaten them because the fairies wanted more lava. Meesh asks Nouna if the fairies had anything to do with what happened at Mount Magma and Nouna gets defensive at the accusation. Given the history between demons and fairies and the way Meesh was treated in Plumeria City, it’s not an unwarranted question to ask. Meesh gets upset and breathes fire, making the security guard raise the alarm. Xavier, thinking it’s the signal, starts breathing smoke. Meesh spots Nouna’s ruby and uses the confusion to headbutt the glass, smashing it and grab it.
Grasping her necklace desperately, Meesh wills it to transform her so she can fly but nothing happens. Nouna shouts at Meesh to “stop” and shoves her, causing the ruby to drop. Nouna demands her ruby back and accuses Meesh, saying they were meant to do this together. Meesh counters that she thought she could trust Nouna. In sudden and dramatic fashion, the Queen arrives and uses a spell to trap Meesh, Nouna, Chai and Xavier and tows them out of the museum as it’s being evacuated while the obviously evil sneaky palace guard watches it happen.
In Plumeria City, the Queen has let Nouna out of the holding spell to explain herself but left the others inside what now looks like a pink prison snowglobe. Nouna tells her mother she is the one who needs to explain. The Queen tells Nouna the ruby never left the palace, it was left behind when she fell through the vortex, and the museum was a trap to get her back. The Queen clearly does not have any faith in her daughter’s judgment or abilities. The Queen then turns on to Meesh and demands to know where her parents are as they need to be held accountable for their daughter's actions. Meesh stands up to the Queen and tells her if it weren't for the fairies Mount Magma wouldn't be poisoned. The Queen is visibly confused at this accusation. As the Queen dismisses Meesh and is about to punish Nouna, Xavier stands up and shouts, “I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED, OK?!”
The Queen is not interested in Xavier’s exclamation, she’s too busy dictating to Nouna and being offended by Meesh bringing up history and past precedent, and says that clearly Meesh is a liar and a thief who wants to leave Nouna powerless. Nouna shows her she can fly and that she would never have learned if not for Meesh. She explains that Meesh came to Plumeria City looking for help to save her home and was treated like a monster, so she can’t be blamed for thinking fairies were behind the travesty on Mount Magma. It’s time to show the demons that fairies aren’t bad. Reluctantly the Queen agrees.
The Queen lets Meesh, Chai and Xavier out of their magical prison globe and grants temporary flying powers to Chai and Xavier. As Meesh’s wings haven’t come out because the necklace lies dormant, Nouna takes Meesh’s hand and carries her. Together they go to Mount Magma and it’s devastating when they get there. It’s quiet, ghostly and eerie. Green goo is everywhere and everyone has been turned to stone. They land next to the lava lake and Xavier explains what happened.
Xavier kept getting bad scores in lava-molding class despite all his studying. He started practicing on his own at a nearby lava lake and one day a woman (who is wearing a beanie and has big cats-eye glasses) is demonstrating lava-molding to a group of kids. The woman offers to show Xavier how to mold lava if he meets her there tomorrow. The next day, Xavier is right on time, and the woman, in a different hat this time, shows him how to mold lava without burning himself. She uses a special ointment to coat her hands and is willing to give her spare one to Xavier. After the fight Meesh and Xavier had in school, he realized the ointment had fallen out of his pocket. Rather than go looking for it, he wanted to get help for Meesh, however one of Xavier’s friends spotted the open vial, and when he picked it up, he started to turn to stone. Their other friends slapped it out his hand and the vial went flying over the hillside and landed in the lava lake making it explode. That is not right. That’s when Xavier knew he’d been lied to.
Xavier ran home but whatever was in the vial had infected the lava and Xavier saw his mom turning. She told him to run, so he did, which is how Chai found him. Xavier blames himself, he did this to Mount Magma. The Queen tells Xavier someone powerful is really behind this, and that Xavier was clearly a tool. Nouna asks for her ruby and tries to use its magic to help Mount Magma but it doesn’t work. Crying, Meesh tells her friends that it wasn’t until this moment that she realized that she loves being a demon. As her tears land on her shirt, the necklace glows and Meesh begins to transform.
Meesh breathes fire on a couple of stone demons but nothing happens. She tries electricity, again nothing. Meesh drops to the ground and her friends rally around saying they will find her a new home. Nouna gives Meesh a hug and her ruby necklace knocks into Meesh’s and they tangle together. Actually, they fit perfectly together and start glowing.
Light emanates from the joined gems, firing into the sky. Lightning crashes down and hits the stone demons causing the stone to crack and freeing the demons inside. Everything is repairing itself. This means Chow will be free! Meesh flies to the lava plant, her friends following. Amongst the workers, Meesh finds her Grandma free from the stone crust. Meesh tells her she went to Plumeria City for Princess Nouna’s help and she met the fairy Queen. Chow can see that, as the fairy Queen along with her daughter, Chai and Xavier land next to them. Chow has a fangirl moment with Princess Nouna. Nouna tells Chow that Meesh is a hero, who admits she couldn’t have done it without the fang necklace. Chow, looking extremely sheepish and to everyone's absolute astonishment, admits that she probably should have told Meesh sooner that she was the Guardian of Mount Magma.
Chow retired when she had Meesh’s mom, but channeled her Guardian powers into the fang necklace intending to pass it to Meesh’s mom and then Meesh. WHAT?!?! Meesh is just a kid, but being a hero doesn’t have an age limit. Nouna points out that Meesh also has her friends at her back. Well, they need to find the stranger who did this to Mount Magma and the Queen promises Plumeria City will help, a threat to Mount Magma is a threat to everyone. Demons and fairies will work together to try to stop the threat.
As the panels pan back it shows Xavier being hugged by his mom, Olivia the flower blooming again and the sneaky guard on the phone to the mysterious woman. So, she was wrong about the Guardian keeping out of it. The mysterious woman hates being wrong. As she looks out over a dig site with a huge excavator and dump truck, the mysterious woman closes the story with a threat, “she’ll wish she never revealed herself.”